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Top 10 tablets of 2013

Last updated on: December 27, 2013 21:33 IST

Top 10 tablets of 2013

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The tablet market saw some rather interesting trends in 2013. Shifting away from standalone devices, there was a flood of Windows 8 hybrids, convertibles and transforming devices.

The usual suspects such as Google, Apple, Acer and Samsung were still present and brought their own share of innovations, but which were the best? Check out our top 10 tablets of 2013 -- whether its budget devices or premium hardware, you’ll find something to like.

Google Nexus 7 (Second generation)

The second generation of the Google Nexus 7 continues to excel the pedigree that the line established, balancing an excellent power configuration with great pricing.

A 1.5 GHz quad core Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, 2 GB of RAM and up to 32 GB of internal storage (though there’s no microSD slot). The 7-inch IPS display features a 1920x1200, which also features an LED backlight and Corning Fit Glass.

Along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, LTE and 3G, the new Nexus 7 also features a 5 megapixel rear camera.

Battery life isn’t as good as the original Nexus, and it still only features Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (the Nexus 5 released with Android 4.4 KitKat) but it’s arguably the best budget tablet you can find.

Price: Rs 27,999 (LTE, 32 GB)


Image: Google Nexus 7 (Second generation)
Photographs: google.com

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Apple iPad Mini Retina

Apple’s iPad Mini Retina is one of the few devices to feature the company’s new dual core, 64-bit A7 CPU. This provides for excellent performance, in both gaming and all-round daily usage, without sacrificing battery life. This can be seen in the Mini Retina’s ability to go for more than 10 hours on a single charge.

The other new additions include a 7.9-inch Retina display with a 2048x1536 resolution. Overall, you’ll have to pay quite a bit for different storage options, with the maximum storage being 128 GB, and for cellular support.

Compared to the iPad Air, it’s significantly less expensive but is no longer a budget tablet like the original. However, if you want what the iPad Air offers and don’t care about portability, the iPad Mini Retina is the way to go.

Price: Rs 28,888 (Wi-Fi, 16 GB)

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Image: Apple iPad Mini Retina
Photographs: apple.com

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Apple iPad Air

The Apple iPad Air is meant to be the next evolution in the tablet line and takes more than its fair share of cues from the MacBook Air line.

At 0.3-inches thick and weighing 469 grams for the base configuration, it’s the lightest and most powerful sub-10-inch tablet out there. The 9.4-inch Retina display still looks incredibly sharp with its 2048x1536 resolution and the camera optics, including the new 1.2 megapixel FaceTime HD camera, is still compelling.

It’s also one of the longest lasting tablets out there in terms of battery life. But aside from the new dual core A7 CPU, whose 64-bit architecture puts it head over heels the rest of the competition, there’s not much else new about the iPad Air.

It’s also one of the most expensive tablets out there depending on which storage option you go for. For those who want the very best in performance and portability, it’s worth a look.

Price: Rs 35,900 (Wi-Fi, 16 GB)

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Image: Apple iPad Air
Photographs: apple.com

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Sony has been rather hit-or-miss with its tablets, but the Xperia Tablet Z does things right. Its look takes after the Xperia line-up and it features a Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal storage and a microSD slot for 64 GB more space.

The 10.1-inch Reality Display sports a sharp 1920x1200 resolution along with a plethora of connectivity options including 4G, LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The 8 megapixel rear camera is better than most and comes billed with Superior Auto for amateur photographers.

In addition, it’s also dust-proof, water resistant and has shatterproof glass.

When compared to the likes of the Nexus 7 in terms of technology, it comes off as quite expensive for sure. However, considering its build quality, display size and better optics, it’s certainly not the worst pricing. Check it out if the iPad Air is out of your reach.

Price: Rs 44,790 (3G, 16 GB)

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Image: Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Photographs: sony.com

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

Samsung’s second follow-up to the hugely successful Galaxy Tab line was underwhelming. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 aims to fix that, arriving in three variants.

The T311 comes most recommended, featuring an Exynos 4212 dual-core SoC, 1.5 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal storage and a microSD slot for 32 GB more space. You also have an 8-inch TFT display with a 1280x800 resolution and a 5 megapixel rear camera sensor with autofocus and HD recording.

When compared to other tablets, it’s not necessarily our go-to choice for a budget tablet. However, it does slightly eclipse the likes of the Galaxy Note 5100 (or Note 8, as it’s also known) in terms of performance and price. Worth a look if you have no other options available, especially with the Samsung exclusive TouchWiz features.

Price: Rs 25,900 (3G, 16 GB)

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
Photographs: samsung.com

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5100 or Note 8 attempts to bring the magic of the Note franchise into tablet form. For the most part, it’s successful.

It has Exynos 4412 quad-core SoC with 2 GB of RAM and up to 32 GB of internal storage. A microSD slot ensures up to 64 GB more space and while the 8-inch display may not be the sharpest with its 1280x800 resolution, it includes Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth and other connectivity options.

The other plus is the addition of the S-Pen stylus, which lets you truly get a feel for the Galaxy Note-like aspirations. This can be used to navigate both the on-screen and physical buttons, which is thus far only a feature on the Galaxy Note 3.

Overall, despite average battery life and camera optics, the Note 8 is a decent choice at its price especially if you’re looking for a stylus-fuelled experience.

Price: Rs 29,499 (3G, 16 GB)

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Photographs: samsung.com

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Google Nexus 10

Of course, with a 7-inch variant of the Nexus making a killing at stores, it only made sense that Google would consider a 10.1-inch model. Thus we have the Nexus 10, which introduces a sharp 2560x1600 resolution display to the forefront. This makes it one of the few tablets to feature a 2K display and to retail for cheaper than the iPad Air.

It also comes with a dual core Exynos 5250 SoC, 2 GB of RAM, up to 32 GB of internal storage and a rear 5 megapixel camera. Battery life relies on a 9000 mAh cell, making for extended use even with the 2K display buzzing behind the scenes.

Considering that it’s cheaper than the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and the iPad Air, it definitely warrants a look.

Price: Rs 29,999 (Wi-Fi, 16 GB)

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Image: Google Nexus 10
Photographs: google.com

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Acer Iconia W4

When you look at the line-up for Windows 8 tablets this year, you’ll find more hybrids, convertibles and ultrabooks than the standalone tablet. Acer took a stab at bringing out several tablets in its Iconia line and Iconia W4 is one of the more exceptional devices.

Along with a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 and Intel HD GPU, it has 2 GB of RAM, 64 GB internal storage and a microSD slot. It also has an 8-inch TFT display with a 1280x800 resolution -- not necessarily the sharpest but it does have wide-angle viewing via IPS tech and an LED backlight.

A 5 megapixel camera with full HD recording and Windows 8.1 Plus round out the package, though its lacking 3G capabilities. For those who want a good alternative for Windows tablet on a budget, the Acer Iconia W4 scores fairly well.

Price: Rs 26,999 (Wi-Fi, 64 GB)

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Image: Acer Iconia W4
Photographs: acer.fi

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Amazon KindleFire HDX 8.9

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is more of an E-book reader than full-fledged tablet, but it’s arguably the best in its class. For the power geeks, there’s a quad core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and up to 64 GB of internal storage.

An 8.9-inch, 2560x1600 resolution display delivers a crystal clear reading experience, and the battery life offers an excellent 10 hours or so of continuous usage.

It’s the other Amazon-exclusive features such as the Mayday button, which offers tech support at all times, and X-Ray, that adds information whether you’re reading books or listening to music. You won’t have the same access to Android apps and accessibility as you would for other tablets, but as an E-book reader, it’s hard to beat.

This tablet is not yet officially available in India. In the US, Amazon KindleFire HDX 8.9 costs $379 (approximately Rs 23,750 in India)

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Image: Amazon KindleFire HDX 8.9
Photographs: Courtesy: Amazon

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Nokia Lumia 2520

As perhaps the best Windows RT 8.1 tablet out there, the Nokia Lumia 2520 offers an excellent design and build quality. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB internal storage and a microSD slot for 32 GB more.

The 10.1-inch ClearBlack display features IPS technology and a 1920x1080 resolution. A 6.7 megapixel rear camera is also featured with Carl Zeiss optics, which makes it far superior to other tablet in terms of optics.

Its battery life is also the best, especially compared to other tablets featuring Intel-equipped hybrids, and it can be docked with a keyboard to further improve battery life. Perhaps the only detriment is Windows RT which doesn’t support legacy apps but the Microsoft Store has come a long way since its introduction.

You’ll find several Nokia exclusive apps on the device as well and enough selection to get through your daily tasks.

This tablet is not yet officially available in India. In the US, Nokia Lumia 2520 costs $499 (approximately Rs 30,800 in India)

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Image: Nokia Lumia 2520
Photographs: nokia.com

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